Reagan Cool’s faith helps her deal with storms of change
FHC Alumna Reagan Cool sat aboard the Washington D.C.’s Metro system as it zipped her from her internship, where she just spent the last seven hours, to the Hillsdale Campus on Capitol Hill for her night class, where she was going to spend her next three.
This busy schedule is the result of Reagan’s participation in the Washington Hillsdale Internship Program (WHIP), a unique opportunity given to Hillsdale students which allows them to intern at places in Washington while still receiving class credit.
Reagan’s journey to the Metro car speeding through D.C.—and the WHIP program—has been rutted with changes. Changes which Reagan has learned to embrace and weave into who she is and what she believes in.
“I didn’t know I would study in D.C. for a semester,” Reagan said. “I didn’t know I would love policy and crave art the way I do. I wasn’t expecting to be in the relationship I’m in, to live where I do, to have visited the places I have. I change my mind a lot, and I’ve learned to be more okay with that. As parts of my character are refined, I notice new elements of my personality, which influences the direction of my thinking on what I’d like to do after I graduate.”
So often high schoolers are lulled into a sense of continual comfort because they are blessed to experience change in a steadfast environment; however, that solid footing isn’t destined to last, and one day students will step out onto shaky ground. Being able to roll with that change is something that has benefited Reagan in her time after high school.
“Life is surprising,” Reagan said. “I’m majoring in something I never expected, and I’m debating between careers I never considered in high school. I’m not friends with people I thought I would be, and some of my closest loved ones are people I didn’t know existed. There have been several unexpected deaths and many unexpected miles traveled on adventures beyond the wildest of my high school dreams.”
Even—maybe especially—in seasons of intense change, Reagan has found stability and continuity through this in her faith.
“My faith is very important to me,” Reagan said. “I’m empty without it. I firmly believe that the most fulfilling life is the one in which we best understand ourselves, and I am convinced that we best understand ourselves by understanding God. This reframes everything. It gives an answer and purpose to challenges and suffering and makes sense of things and people I don’t understand.”
Not only does Reagan’s faith give her a strong core for her life and enable her to weather storms of change, but it also enables her to see the world in a more beautiful light. Reagan feels that time spent with her god sustains her and prepares her to deal with the crazy life of a college student while also causing her to pause and live in each moment.
“When I invest in my faith by going to church and focusing on a daily prayer routine, I am happier, love others better and more deeply, and with more patience, find my work less exhausting and more rewarding,” Reagan said. “My eyes are opened to more detailed beauty in the mundane, like the way the light filters through the tree on my morning commute or the gift of having enough to pay rent each month. Life isn’t always glamorous, but it is always beautiful.”
And it is discovering how to find and experience this beauty that Reagan wishes she would have learned during her time at FHC. Because, no matter what changes you may be experiencing, you can always “enjoy your classes, invest in your friendships, spend time cooking and gardening and traveling. Recycle and compost and thrift and save your leftovers for lunch. Learn at art and read old books. Drink more coffee and try new food and visit new places and go on unexpected adventures,” Reagan said.